Veteran Vanguard Newspapers columnist, Ms Donu Kogbara, who was set free in the wee hours of yesterday by her abductors in Port Harcourt, has recounted the experience, stating that the society urgently needs to address socio-economic deprivations fueling kidnapping.
Speaking yesterday, at her residence in Nkpogu in the state capital, where she was abducted, the renowned columnist thanked her organization and members of the public for the concern they showed.
“I am happy to say that I have been released. I am alive despite all the things I have lost in the cause of the robbery that preceded the abduction,” Kogbara said.
Kogbara debunked the allegation that her abduction was politically motivated, though she noted that the bandits had grudges against some politicians in the state.
“No, I don’t see any politician behind the mask. Though, I have to tell you that, these boys claimed that they had helped certain politicians win elections in the past.”
She expressed deep concern over the security situation in Rivers State, where abduction is now seen as another means to quick cash by the growing army of unemployed youths.
Her words: To be quite honest with you, the security situation in Rivers State is very worrying. I can hardly think of anybody I know, who does not know somebody, who has been abducted or robbed in the past couple of years.”
On his part, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Musa Kimo, who also spoke with Sunday Sun at the residence of the veteran columnist thanked God for her safe return, describing the positive outcome of the abduction as his happiest moment. He assured Rivers people that the Command would not relent in its fight against criminals.
The elated CP said: “I am very happy today; my joy knows no bound because our dear sister, Donu Kogbara, is finally back to us. She has united with us safely and in good health. And that is due to the mercy of God. To Him, we give all the glory.
“Let me sincerely thank the President of our country, my Inspector-General of Police. In fact, my Inspector-General of Police has continuously called me on phone and sent text messages to guide me. I want to equally thank the media for solidly, robustly, steadfastly, painstakingly and tirelessly following this abduction.
“I want to thank her family for their patience, steadfastness and faith in God. We are in deed, happy. Today is my greatest day, my greatest moment. I am happy.”
Shortly after Kogbara spoke with Sunday Sun as given in excerpts below…
The world is eager to hear from you, now that you have regained freedom.
I am happy to say that I have been released. I am alive despite all the things I have lost in the cause of the robbery that preceded the abduction. And I thank Vanguard, my paper, for the love and support that I received from my colleagues. And of course, our Publisher, Uncle Sam Amuka, who was actually the first person we called when I was abducted. People kept on saying Vanguard journalist, so these boys said to me: okay, who is the owner of Vanguard?
You said you lost some things, were the abductors in the house here?
Yes. Before we left house, they took all my jewelries and some money I had. So, it wasn’t much.
From what you saw, were you taken to the creeks, or held within Port Harcourt land area?
We were in the creeks, in the middle of nowhere. They actually told me I was in Cameroun. But, I have since been told that probably is not the case.
So many things have been said about the abduction; it was even speculated that it was politically motivated. Do you see any politician being behind the mask? duction; it was even
No, I don’t see any politician behind the mask. Though, I have to tell you that these boys claimed that they had helped certain politicians win elections in the past. I don’t know if you can really believe what they have said. Well, the political element was, well, they (abductors) were a little bit confused in my opinion, because they were upset that Goodluck Jonathan had been defeated by a Northerner. On the other hand, they were very much unhappy with Goodluck Jonathan because they felt he had not done much for the Niger Delta. And, I saw politics here and there; they had a grudge against the former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi for not supporting Goodluck Jonathan. But, then, they also have a grudge against the current governor. Actually, in the end, they told me, it was war against big men. That’s how they put it. And, to them, big men are politicians; they called them official hoodlums.
Did they seem enlightened?
Some of them were quite intelligent; not highly educated.
Did you count the number of the men who abducted you?
Actually, I was so confused when they woke me up. I woke up and there were gunmen in my bedroom. I think my mother can tell you how many they were because, honestly, I was in a daze. They took me out; blindfolded me and off we went.
Were they in police uniform as reported?
I don’t think so.
Were you fed?
Yes, I was fed. It wasn’t bad. Considering they were young men, they cooked rather well. But, the conditions were not very sanitary.
Were you provided medication?
Well, to be fair to them, when I complained of not having my blood pressure medication, they actually went out and bought some for me.
What is your advice, based on your experience?
To be quite honest with you, the security situation in Rivers State is very worrying. I hardly think of anybody I know, who does not know somebody, who has been abducted or robbed in the past couple of years. Fortunately, we have a new dynamic Commissioner of Police (Musa Kimo), who has hit the ground running and seems absolutely determined to see what he can do to confront this menace. There is another that has to do with social degradation and young boys going out in poverty, and not receiving proper parental guidance. You know, we have to temper sympathy for people who have had disadvantaged background.